Quality and procurement

According to this year’s survey responses, Campinos’ first 12 months at the helm of the EPO have been a huge success. The office continues to be held in higher regard than its counterparts among practitioners both in IP-owning companies and in law firms. Indeed, 92% of in-house professionals rate the quality of the patents granted by the EPO to be between good and excellent; 59% regard it as very good or excellent; 22% as excellent and 0% as poor. This far exceeds the approval ratings of any of the other ‘IP5’ offices (those in China, Japan, Korea and the United States).

The EPO is also perceived to be providing the best service of all the major offices; 47% of respondents at IP-owning companies regard its service to be excellent or very good, compared to 29% for the second-place USPTO. Law firm practitioners are even more enthusiastic, with 55% believing that the EPO provides an excellent or very good service.

While the USPTO continues to lag behind its transatlantic counterpart, its reputation has improved year-on-year under the leadership of Iancu. Overall, 73% of in-house professionals rated the quality of the office’s output to be excellent or very good – 11% higher than in 2018 and second only to the EPO. What is more, 66% of them said that the service provided is good to excellent, compared to 53% last year. It is no surprise, then, that the USPTO is considered to have improved the quality of its patents by more respondents (19%) than any other office, including the China National IP Administration (CNIPA), which is said to have improved by 16% of respondents at IP-owning companies.

Nevertheless, the CNIPA continues to languish at the bottom of the table, with the proportion of in-house participants that rated its service as excellent or very good dropping from 13% last year to 9% in 2019 and the share of private practice respondents that regard the quality of its patents to be excellent or very good falling from 16% to 12%.

On a more positive note, the proportion of participants at law firms that believe there is a general problem with patent quality has decreased to 51% from last year’s high of 61%.

Table 7. Rate the quality of the patents issued by the following agencies (IP-owning company)

 

Excellent

Very good

Good

Adequate

Poor

N/A

EPO

22%

37%

32%

4%

0%

4%

Japan Patent Office (JPO)

9%

25%

43%

7%

2%

14%

Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO)

3%

10%

32%

20%

7%

28%

CNIPA

2%

6%

31%

35%

9%

16%

USPTO

10%

27%

36%

14%

10%

2%

Table 8. How do you perceive the quality of the patents issued by the following agencies has changed in the past year? (IP-owning company)

 

Improved

Stayed the same

Worsened

N/A

EPO

14%

67%

9%

10%

JPO

2%

73%

3%

21%

KIPO

5%

64%

2%

29%

CNIPA

16%

60%

3%

20%

USPTO

19%

63%

11%

7%

Table 9. Rate the service that you receive from the following agencies (IP-owning company)

 

Excellent

Very good

Good

Adequate

Poor

N/A

EPO

21%

26%

26%

13%

1%

13%

JPO

8%

18%

36%

9%

4%

25%

KIPO

6%

12%

29%

19%

0%

34%

CNIPA

4%

5%

38%

22%

6%

26%

USPTO

9%

20%

37%

15%

10%

9%

Table 10. Rate the quality of the patents issued by the following agencies (private practice)

 

Excellent

Very good

Good

Adequate

Poor

N/A

EPO

20%

44%

18%

4%

3%

11%

JPO

9%

40%

24%

5%

1%

21%

KIPO

4%

18%

37%

8%

1%

31%

SIPO

1%

11%

39%

20%

5%

25%

USPTO

9%

31%

31%

12%

5%

12%

Table 11. How do you think the quality of the patents issued by these agencies has changed in the past year? (private practice)

 

Improved

Stayed the same

Worsened

N/A

Weighted Average

EPO

12%

63%

11%

15%

1.98

JPO

8%

67%

1%

24%

1.92

KIPO

7%

57%

1%

35%

1.91

SIPO

20%

47%

6%

28%

1.8

USPTO

14%

59%

12%

16%

1.98

Table 12. ow much litigation do you expect there to be in the following jurisdictions in five years’ time? (private practice)

 

More than at present

The same as at present

Less than at present

Brazil

32%

51%

17%

China

90%

8%

2%

France

14%

74%

11%

Germany

41%

53%

6%

India

52%

39%

9%

Indonesia

27%

62%

11%

Japan

18%

74%

8%

Korea

34%

61%

5%

Mexico

17%

73%

11%

Netherlands

21%

64%

15%

Nigeria

13%

69%

18%

United Kingdom

34%

46%

20%

United States

33%

50%

17%

Vietnam

26%

63%

11%

Table 13. Rate the service you receive from the following agencies (private practice)

 

Excellent

Very good

Good

Adequate

Poor

N/A

Weighted Average

EPO

18%

37%

18%

5%

1%

21%

2.16

JPO

6%

30%

21%

7%

1%

34%

2.47

KIPO

4%

22%

22%

9%

0%

43%

2.65

SIPO

2%

14%

28%

15%

4%

36%

3.08

USPTO

10%

28%

23%

12%

6%

21%

2.7

Figure 25. What best describes your clients’ approach to patent procurement? (Please choose up to three options) (private practice)

Figure 26. Do you believe that there is a problem with patent quality in general? (private practice)

Figure 27. If you do feel that current patent quality is a problem, what do you consider to be the main contributing factors? (Please tick all that apply) (private practice)

Litigation

As in our previous three benchmarking surveys, the United States and Germany have gone head to head to be crowned the most highly regarded IP litigation ecosystems; while the United Kingdom received impressive feedback from this year’s survey participants. In all, 40% of in-house respondents said that they have the most confidence in the US system – slightly more than the 37% who favour Germany. But those at law firms give Germany the slight advantage (31%) over the United States, which received 29% of the votes. Moreover, the United Kingdom is their third most popular jurisdiction at 19%.

The United Kingdom also rivals Germany for second place among private practice participants when it comes to thoroughness, garnering 17% of votes compared to Germany’s 18%. This represents a four-point increase from last year’s 13% in favour of the United Kingdom. However, in this respect, the United States comes out well on top, with 51% of respondents designating it the most thorough office. IP owners see things much the same way; 58% regard the United States as the most thorough litigation ecosystem, while only 5% consider the United Kingdom the most thorough and 28% would choose Germany.

When it comes to value for money, corporate and private practice participants differ significantly on which jurisdiction is the best. Of those in IP-owning companies, more favour the United States (36%) than Germany (29%), with only 11% opting for third-place China. However, practitioners at law firms tend towards Germany (41%), with only 19% believing that the United States offers the best value for money.

Perceptions of China’s litigation system remain poor, with only 5% of corporate participants having the most confidence in the country’s ecosystem (although this is up from 3% last year) and 1% deeming it to be the most thorough – the same as in 2018. Unsurprisingly, however, the IP community expects more litigation to take place in the country going forward; 84% of in-house respondents and 90% of private practice participants believe this.

Figure 28. Which of the following countries offers the best value for money for IP litigation? (IP-owning company)

Figure 29. Which of the following countries offers the best value for money for IP litigation? (private practice)

Figure 30. Which of the following countries has the most thorough litigation system? (IP-owning company)

Figure 31. Which of the following countries has the most thorough litigation system? (private practice)

Figure 32. In which of the following litigation systems do you have the most confidence? (IP-owning company)

Figure 33. In which of the following litigation systems do you have the most confidence? (private practice)

Table 13. How much litigation would you expect to see in the following jurisdictions in five years’ time? (IP-owning company)

  

More than at present

The same amount

Less than at present

Brazil

17%

65%

18%

China

84%

11%

4%

France

15%

68%

17%

Germany

51%

42%

7%

India

44%

46%

11%

Indonesia

4%

82%

14%

Japan

22%

59%

19%

Korea

14%

68%

19%

Mexico

10%

79%

10%

Netherlands

15%

75%

10%

Nigeria

5%

79%

16%

United Kingdom

30%

56%

15%

United States

37%

47%

16%

Vietnam

11%

79%

11%

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